Best Upright Vacuum


Bets Upright Vacuums 2017

UPDATED NOV 2020 - We’ve been updating our list of Best Upright Vacuums every year since 2008 and the latest list for 2020 has just been released. The list is dominated this year by Shark machines.

Our choice for the Best Upright Vacuum in 2020 is the Shark Vertex, a powerful machine that does everything well. Last year our top pick was the Shark NV752 which has dropped to #2 this year - but it continues to be a strong consumer favorite.  #3 in our list is the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632, a machine that is very similar to the NV752 but comes with a specialized cleaner head for pet hair.  Slipping to #4 is the Dyson Ball Animal 2 which is a beast of a vacuum and subsequently one of our best vacuums for pet hair.  

Following is our table of the top uprights on the market today.  Prices for these vacuums range from about $130 to $500.

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners 2020

 Rank  Vacuum Cleaner  Approx. Price (USD)
 1  Shark Vertex  350 - 400
 2  Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet  250 - 350
 3  Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632  250 - 350
 4  Dyson Ball Animal 2   450 - 500
 5  Shark APEX Zero-M  350 - 400
 6  Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed  150 - 200
 7  Oreck 2100RHS  150 - 175
 8  Shark Navigator Deluxe NV360  150 - 200
 9  Oreck U2000R1  175 - 225
 10  Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet  200 - 250
 11  Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Pet  130 - 160

ALL of these vacuums are good but we would urge you to read the reviews carefully before making a purchase because some may excel in one area and not another.  Consider your cleaning needs carefully and make an informed decision based on the vacuum features, specifications, price, warranty, etc.  

Shark Vertex AZ2002

#1) Shark Vertex

Why is the Shark Vertex our top choice?

Highly Rated by Owners: This vacuum has received a score of 95/100 which places it at the top of the upright vacuums on our website. The score is created from actual owner ratings.

Great on Carpet: The Vertex performed very well in our carpet test. Debris pickup was excellent.

Great on Hard Floors: The Vertex pickup on our tile floor was very good. This is something we don’t always see with an upright.

DuoClean Technology: This uses 2 brushrolls in the cleaner head and it undoubtedly helps with pickup. In addition, the soft brushroll at the front of the cleaner head helps with large debris pickup and it even helps with stuck-on dust (on hard floors). The second brushroll has special powerfins.

Quality Air Filtration: Air filtration is provided by 2 pre-motor filters and 1 post-motor filter. The post-motor filter is a HEPA filter and Shark states that the vacuum also has a sealed system (which ensures no unfiltered air leaks out of the vacuum).

Good Edge Cleaning: In our edge cleaning test the Vertex cleaned up tight against our baseboards.

Good on Hair: Folks with pets will appreciate the ability of the Vertex to pick up hair and to keep it off the brushrolls. The Vertex setup is the most effective we have seen to date at dealing with hair.

Respectable Cleaning Reach: The unit comes with a 30 ft power cord. This is the minimum we like to see. Quite a few uprights these days are coming with cords less than 30 ft long.

Headlights: The vacuum has a headlight on the front of the cleaner head. This is a useful feature when cleaning in dimly lit areas.

Powered Lift Away: A hugely popular feature and for good reason. This provides handheld-like capabilities and it also allows the unit to get under very low furniture.

Powerful Suction: Shark states that this is their most powerful machine. We have not tested this statement but the Vertex certainly feels powerful.

Easy Maintenance: Washable filters, a bagless design, and easy access to everything makes maintaining the Vertex a snap.

This is a great overall vacuum. It’s good at almost everything and it is our #1 pet hair vacuum as well. It is perhaps a little on the heavy side so it could be overkill for smaller homes.

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Shark Vertex revew...

Shark Rotator NV752

#2) Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet

Why is the NV752 so good?

Consumers Love It: Consistently rated over 90% by most owners and elicits comments such as “highly recommended” & “one of the best vacuums on the market”.

Multiple Cleaning Modes: Operates as an upright vacuum, a canister vacuum, and a handheld.

Includes Many Tools: Provided are a dusting brush, dusting genie, pet upholstery tool, hard floor genie, TruePet motorized brush, and an accessories bag.

No Consumables: This vacuum is bagless, has washable filters and also a belt that lasts the lifetime of the vacuum.

Sealed System & HEPA Filtration: HEPA level filtration and a sealed system are very helpful for those suffering from asthma or allergies.

Powerful Suction: Consumers agree that this machine has exceptional suction.

Cleans Bare Floors & Carpet: Three settings provide the ability to clean bare floor, low pile carpet and high pile carpet.

Effective on Pet Hair: Includes a TruePet Motorized Brush and a Pet Upholstery Tool. Performs very well on pet hair when cleaning both hard surfaces and carpet.

Power Cord Length: The power cord is a full 30 feet in length.

Headlights: LED headlights in the nozzle as well as on the vacuum handle.  Lights last the lifetime of the vacuum.

Warranty: The NV752 carries a very lengthy 7-year warranty.

Price: If you dig aroound this machine can generally be found online for under $300.

The NV752 is a bagless upright with a motor driven brushbar for deep cleaning of carpets.  It is of average weight (16.7 lbs or about 15.6 lbs without the power cord) and despite its powerful suction is not too loud.  The suction can also be reduced via suction vents on the side of the vacuum handle.  It is fairly maneuverable due to the swivel steering and the low profile nozzle helps it get under low furniture.

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Shark Rotator NV752 review... 

Shark APEX Zero-M

#3) Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away ZU632

This vacuum is a great choice for homes with pets and it is also very similar to the Shark NV752 (our #2 vacuum in this list).

Zero-M Technology. This technology utilizes a special brushroll and comb in the cleaner head. These work together to remove hair from the brushroll as you vacuum. We have tested the technology and it works. Hair pickup is good and it moves the bulk of the hair from the brushroll to the dust canister for easy disposal. Units without this technology tend to get extensive hair wrapping around the brushroll which has to be removed manually.

Highly Rated by Owners. The average owner rating that we found for this vacuum was 4.65 stars out of 5, which is very high.

Low Maintenance Costs. This vacuum is bagless so there are no bags to buy. Also, all of the filters can be rinsed in water when they are dirty and reused. We found the maintenance to be easy and it is nice not to have to buy consumables.

Quality Air Filtration. The ZU632, like the NV752, has a HEPA-level filter as well as a sealed system. The sealed system ensures that all the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters before being exhausted from the machine. No unfiltered air escapes.

Powered Lift-Away. The lift-away feature on Shark vacuums is very popular. It allows you to carry the dustbin/motor assembly with one hand while using the hose/handle/tools with the other hand. It essentially provides something close to handheld vacuum capabilities - something not common with an upright. The ZU632 lift-away is also “powered” which means you can use it with powered/motorized tools.

Good Pickup on Carpet. Pickup on carpet is good – perhaps not as good as the NV752 but still quite respectable.

Better-than-expected Pickup on Hard Floors. Pickup tests on our tile flooring showed that this vacuum provides very good pickup on hard flooring.

Decent Maneuverability. This is not a lightweight vacuum and while that may be an issue for some, the maneuverability (turning, steering, forward and backwards motion) is good.

Headlights. There are headlights on either side of the cleaner head and these are handy, especially when vacuuming in dimly lit areas.

This is a really good vacuum if you need a full size upright and you have a home with shedding pets. If you have to deal with lots of hair this is likely a better choice than the NV752 but it falls a little short of the NV752 is a few other areas. Check out our Shark ZU632 vs Shark NV752 article for more details.

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Shark ZU632 review...

Dyson Ball Animal 2

#4) Dyson Ball Animal 2

This is a very powerful vacuum cleaner and it is also one of our top picks for the best pet hair vacuum.  This is an excellent machine for households with pets and for owners with allergies.

Powerful Vacuum: According to Dyson this unit puts out 270 Air Watts of suction which is more than most of their vacuums.

Top Notch Ratings: Owners are giving this machine high ratings and we have given this unit a score of 94/100

Long Cleaning Reach: Has a 35 foot power cord and a cleaning reach of close to 50 feet (inlcudes the hose, wand and power cord)

Certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly: Has whole machine HEPA filtration and is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

Respectable Warranty: Has a 5-year parts and labor warranty.

Motorized Brushroll: Cleaner head has a very powerful motorized brushroll for deep cleaning carpet. The cleaner head is so powerful we can often see nearby debris on carpet vibrating.

Designed for Carpet & Bare Floors: Tests show good cleaning ability on both carpet and bare floors.

Tools: Includes a host of tools some of which are specially designed for the removal of pet hair.

Tools "Click" Into Place: Tools are not friction fit but rather click into place and will not fall off. A press of the button releases them.

Large Dust Canister: The dust canister has a capacity of 0.55 gallons and is very easy to empty.

This is a bagless upright vacuum with Ball Technology which makes it easy to move and turn.  The filters are also rinsable which helps reduce consumables and costs.  Ours came with the tangle-free turbine tool which is rather innovative and really does pull up hair/string/thread/etc without any tangling.  The vacuum is a bit on the heavy side however and it is not easy to push on deep pile carpet. 

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Dyson Ball Animal 2 review...

Shark APEX Zero-M

#5 Shark APEX Zero-M

The APEX Zero-M (AZ1002) is a very similar machine to the older APEX AX952 but the AZ1002 has a cleaner head that is designed to deal with hair (this is called Zero-M Technology). The AZ1002 is therefore more adept in homes with shedding pets than its predecessor the APEX AX952.

A Premier Shark Upright. The Shark APEX Zero-M is one of Shark’s top-of-the-line machines and it comes with a host of features.

DuoClean Technology. This technology uses 2 brushrolls. I traditional bristled brushroll and a soft roller brushroll at the front of the cleaner head. This approach provides for very good overall pickup, better pickup of large debris, and better pickup of dust (and stuck-on particles) on hard flooring.

Zero-M Technology. Zero-M Technology ensures limited hair wrap on the brushroll. The hair is removed from the special brushroll (by a comb-like device in the cleaner head) while you vacuum and sent to the dust canister for disposal.

Quality Air Filtration. The vacuum has a HEPA level filter as well as sealed body construction which ensures no unfiltered air escapes.

Easy Maintenance. The AZ1002 is bagless so there are no bags to remove or buy, and all of the filters can be rinsed in water when they are dirty and re-used.

Designed for Carpet and Hard Floors. A slider on the vacuum handle allows you to easily switch between hard floor, low pile carpet, and thick carpet settings.

Long Power Cord. There is nothing worse than an upright with a very short power cord. Fortunately the AZ1002 has a 30 ft power cord which provides plenty of cleaning reach.

Headlights. This APEX machine has lights on either side of the cleaner head. These turn on when the vacuum is on and they are designed to last the lifetime of the vacuum. They are handy in dimly lit areas.

Powered Lift Away. The vacuum comes with the popular lift-away feature. Also, this unit has something referred to as “powered” lift away which allow the use of powered/motorized tools.

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Shark APEX Zero-M review...

Shark APEX Zero-M

#6 Shark Navigator Zero-M Lift-Away Speed

The Lift-Away Speed is a lightweight upright and it doesn't come with a lot of bells and whistles.  But the low price reflects this and it is a good choice for those who don't like a heavier machine and want good hair cleaning capabilities 

Lightweight Upright Vacuum. The Lift-Away Speed weighs 13.4 lbs and you can feel this while vacuuming. It is very nimble and it turns and moves well.

Simple, Basic Machine. It is a simple, straightforward vacuum that is easy to use. It has a few features but not too many. But what it does, it does well.

Good Air Filtration. It has a HEPA filter and sealed construction which ensures all of the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters before being exhausted. No unfiltered air leaves the vacuum.

Lift-Away Feature. It comes with Shark’s popular lift-away features which allows you to get into areas an upright cannot go. The lift-away feature on the ZU561 is non-powered (cannot use power tools with it).

Zero-M Technology. This is another Shark vacuum with Zero-M Technology. This technology is designed to limit hair wrap on the brushroll and help move the bulk of the hair to the dust canister for disposal. A handy technology for households with pets.

Easy Maintenance. This is a bagless vacuum so there are no bags to buy, and all of the filters can be rinsed in water and re-used.

3 Tools Included. The vacuum comes with a duster crevice tool, a wide upholstery tool, and a hair removal multi-tool.

Suction Release Collar. This feature is essentially an opening in the vacuum handle that you can manually slide open or closed. Opening it allows you to bleed of vacuum suction which you might want to do if you are using the hose/handle/tools and working on something delicate like drapery. It can also be useful to reduce suction on some carpeted surfaces where the vacuum may have difficulty moving on full suction.

Designed for Carpet and Hard Floors. A switch on the vacuum allows you to choose the appropriate setting for the floor surface you are cleaning (carpet or hard floors).

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Shark Navigator ZU561 review...

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#7) Oreck 2100RHS

The Oreck 2100RHS is a very reasonably priced, no nonsense, bagged vacuum.  It is dubbed a commercial vacuum but many people love it for residential use.

It is important to point out that this is a no-frills machine.  It does not include attachments or tools nor does it come with much in the way of features.  When you buy this machine you get the vacuum, a manual, your warranty card and a vacuum bag.  That's it. 

Consumer ratings are excellent however and the vacuum is extremely lightweight (8.2 lbs), easy to maneuver, and it comes with a very long industrial power cord (35 feet).  It also has powerful suction. 

Note: Before buying a no-frills Oreck machine make sure that "no-frills" is what you want.  If you want tools, hose, attachments, features, etc. it may not be the right choice.

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Oreck 2100RHS review...

#8) Shark Navigator Deluxe NV360

This vacuum provides good bang for your buck.  It is very reasonably priced and owner ratings and reviews are still very good.  It has strong suction, the popular Shark lift-away feature, a non-motorized pet hair tool and brushroll on/off controls.  The brushroll controls help this unit perform on smooth flooring and carpet.  We also like that it has a HEPA filter and all of the vacuum’s filters can be rinsed in water and re-used.  The NV360 works well on pet hair and is also not too loud.
The hose is a bit short however and the unit can easily be pulled over.  In addition, it is best for cleaning low/medium pile carpet and it can be difficult to move on deeper pile carpet.
The Shark NV360 weighs in the neighborhood of 16 lbs and it carries a respectable 5-year warranty. It can sometimes be found online for under $150 USD.

#9) Oreck U2000R-1

It is important to understand just what you are getting if you purchase this upright vacuum.  It is very much a no-frills machine and it doesn’t have a hose or any attachments, but it cleans large areas of carpet and bare floors very well.  The U2000R-1 is a commercial vacuum but it is also quite popular with home owners who use it for residential cleaning.

The vacuum may have no tools or attachments but it has powerful suction and is lightweight at under 10 lbs.  It also sports a very lengthy 40 foot power cord.  The Oreck U2000R-1 is good bang for your buck and it is fairly affordable.  It is a little on the loud side however.

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.
Read the full Oreck U20000R-1 review...

Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet

#10) Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet

The MAXLife is great for homes with shedding pets. The vacuum is designed for pet owners and hair pickup is very good. It also includes several tools (included a specialized pet upholstery tool) which aid in pickup.

It has a large dust canister which allows you to keep vacuuming for long periods without the need to empty it. There are also brushroll ON/OFF Controls. It can be handy to turn your brushroll OFF if you are cleaning certain smooth surfaces. This ability is provided with the MAXLife.

The MAXLife comes with a 30 ft power cord. We’ve always advocated for a minimum power cord length of 30 ft (with an upright vacuum). We’ve noticed that anything less can cause dissatisfaction with owners as they find themselves frequently searching for power outlets.

As a pet vacuum its nice to have good air filtration and the MAZLife has a HEPA-level filter and a sealed system to ensure no unfiltered air escapes.

A simple suction control slider is built into the handle. You can open this to bleed off suction which can be handy if the machine’s powerful suction makes it hard to push on some carpets or if you are using a tool and find that the suction is too powerful (for example when you are vacuuming something delicate like drapery or lamp shades, etc.)

There are also headlights are on the cleaner head and can be handy when vacuuming in dimly lit areas.

Check out pricing & reviews on Amazon.

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Pet

#11) Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Pet

The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Pet has automatic power cord rewind. This feature is something you do not often see on an upright and owners really like it. It will automatically reel in the power cord when you have finished vacuuming so you don’t have to deal with wrapping it. Note: Sometimes this feature results in shorter power cord lengths and the power cord on this unit is 27 feet long which is not too bad but we generally prefer to see 30 feet or more.

The vacuum includes specialized pet tools. Besides the general tools (Crevice Tool, Combination Dusting Brush and Upholstery Tool) you will also get specialized pet tools including the Pet TurboEraser Tool and the Pet Hair Corner Tool. Also, three tools will store on-board the vacuum so when you need them while vacuuming they are at hand.

There are 5 height settings. A dial on the top of the cleaner head allows you to manually set the distance between the underside of the cleaner head and the floor. This can be handy when dealing with different heights of carpet (low pile, medium pile, deep pile).

This machine is not too heavy. At about 13.7 lbs this is not a particularly heavy upright. The reasonable weight helps with movement and maneuverability.

This is the least expensive vacuum in our list and you should be able to find it for under $150.

Check out pricing and reviews on Amazon..

Frequently Asked Questions

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0 # April 2018-11-11 05:46
Hi Nigel,
I am so glad I stumbled upon your YouTube reviews. Great job! I have been very unhappy with the vacuum I purchased earlier this year and am looking to replace it already. I am leaning towards purchasing the Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet. I do have a large thick shag rug in my house and I was wondering how you think the NV752 will perform? Thank you for your feedback.

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0 # Nigel 2018-11-11 22:50
Hi April,

Thanks for stopping by. We've run the NV752 on deep pile carpet and when the machine is in "Thick Carpet/Area Rug" mode it seems to be reasonably mobile. The unit does not have height controls however, and it is possible you may run into an issue, but with our deep pile carpet it seems to be ok. If you have ONLY deep shag I'm not sure this is your best choice but if you only have some, you may get away with it. It does move better on the deep pile carpet than some of the other machines we've tested (at least those without height controls).

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0 # April 2018-11-17 03:18
Wonderful. Thank you again.
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0 # Naomi 2018-09-26 16:14

I am attempting to narrow my choices between the nv752 and the nv801/803. I have both laminate and carpeted floors. I am having trouble finding info re: how to clean the brush roll on the 752, whereas the 801/803 seems very easy. Is that ease of cleaning the brush roll worth choosing the 801/803 over the 752?

Thank you!
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0 # Nigel 2018-09-26 18:52
Hi Naomi,

Cleaning the brushroll on the NV752 is not as easy as cleaning the brushroll on the NV801 (although it is still not that difficult). You do have to tip the vacuum to access the brushroll and clean it by pulling out hair/etc and you may have to take a pair of scissors to it. Also, the NV752 is a larger machine than the nv801 and the nv801 has DuoClean Technology (a second soft brushroll on the front) while the NV752 does not. In my opinion, the ease of cleaning the brushroll between these two units is not necessarily a sufficient reason to choose one over the other. However the other differences such as size and DuoClean technology, etc, may be better things to focus on.

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0 # Guy 2017-01-15 10:23
Thanks for finally talking about >Best Upright Vacuum
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0 # Helene Chirinian 2014-12-10 00:49
Hi, I am five feet tall and need a lightweight vacuum but also need the best one possible to clean thick pile Persian rugs. Help!
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0 # Mike 2014-11-18 01:00
Nigel you should try the Riccar radiance pro a bit pricy at $1500 but it does a good job, and has lots of bells and whistles. I compared it against a Miele cat & dog and it actually cleaned better. I would love it if you tested this made in the US machine.
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0 # Nigel Russco 2014-11-20 00:10
Thanks for the comment. We would also like to review a Riccar Radiance but vacuums like this are too expensive to buy for the purposes of a review and we have contacted Riccar in the past for a loaner (for review purposes) and received no response. We often find that the more expensive manufacturers like Miele, Sebo, etc are really tough nuts to crack when it comes to getting machines for reviews. We will continue trying with Riccar however!
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0 # Neal Bracken 2014-07-26 02:30

How are you today?

I am looking for an upright bagged vacuum cleaner that is less than 15 lbs, quiet,relatively inexpensive (under $400)and effectively picks up cat hair. Currently, I use a Kenmore Progressive upright which cleans effectively,but is too bloody heavy and loud. What would you recommend?

Thank you for your help.

Neal Bracken
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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.